When John Terry dropped his Chelsea contract bombshell, there was immediate talk of a career sundowner in LA or New York.

But could the Blues' 'Captain, Leader, Legend' head east rather than west when he finally departs Stamford Bridge?

Football tends to reflect the economy at large.

The present UK Government has forged close links with the Chinese ruling hierarchy, throwing open the doors of UK PLC for investment from the world's third largest economy.

China has been stockpiling western cash for years, being the main manufacturer of practically all of the consumer goods that make our households tick: from kitchen appliances, to smartphones, computers, clothing and car parts.

Departed: Ramires

A new class of super-rich are looking to invest their cash in big money play things: and football, both in China and overseas, is an obvious target.

Especially with an exploding Chinese middle class looking for new pursuits to fill their expanding leisure time.

Some have made parallels between the growth of football in China and the attempts to roll out soccer in the USA back in the 1970s and 80s.

But there are big differences.

The North American Soccer League (NASL) was always onto a bit of a loser – having to compete with NFL, baseball and basketball.

Played in the NASL: Pele

Though there was a celebrated wave of stars that headed over to the NASL from Europe and South America, they were always moves in the twilight of a career.

In China, football is already the biggest sport (with basketball also hugely popular).

And it is growing: average attendances in the Chinese Super League have more than doubled in a decade, from around 10,000 to 22,000.

There is plenty of room yet to grow, too, with reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande attracting roughly 45,000 a match to their 58,500 capacity stadium.

Hence the thirst for big names.

If Ramires' move to Jiangsu Suning was a surprise, then the following transfer of Alex Teixera to the same club from Shakhtar Donetsk was more of a shock.

Teixera is two years Ramires' junior, and the prevailing wisdom had been that Chinese funds might only stretch to perhaps one big name per club.

Moved to China: Alex Teixeira

In signing two well known Brazilians, Suning boss Dan Petrescu has clearly been allowed to consider a longer term plan aimed at building a team and keeping big names happy.

Remy has been linked in the French media with a big money move to Shanghai Shenhua – and there is evidence of an arms race escalating between the Super League's biggest powers.

The list of names is too numerous to recount, as the latest media trend appears to be linking stars not with Real Madrid or Manchester United, but previously unheard of names such as Beijing Guoan or Tianjin Teda.

So will Terry make the move east?

Were he to do so, he would undoubtedly be the Super League's biggest signing yet. He may not be in his athletic prime like Teixera, but as a former England captain and Chelsea legend, he would overnight become one of the most famous names in China.

Stories last week suggested he could pocket as much as £20m in a single season in China – money that would doubtless be seen as a good investment by whichever club signed him, given the beneficial effect such a move would have on the league's reputation.

Of course, Terry is well aware of the levels of interest in the game in China, as well as the potential riches up for grabs, having made what seemed at the time an odd solo trip there in June last year.

He went to Guangzhou, where he was named an 'ambassador of football culture' – in one of those corporate grip and grin events that offer benefits to both the star and to the aspirational professionals paying to be there.

“I’m very honoured to be given the award by the Guangzhou Football Association,” he was quoted as saying in the PR spiel, “and I look forward to building the fan club for myself and Chelsea here.”

Having just announced his likely departure from Chelsea in the summer, Terry will doubtless have already received offers for his next move.

He says he will not play for another Premier League club and, and a move to MLS has been touted.

But, with seemingly limitless riches, and the opportunity to be a trailblazer for a new and fast growing market, it seems Terry's Chinese fan club might need to take on a few extra admin staff in the very near future.